“I AM SLOW OF SPEECH and SLOW OF TONGUE.” — Was Moses a stammerer?

Exodus 4:10 (NKJV)

10 Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am NOT ELOQUENT, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I AM SLOW OF SPEECH and SLOW OF TONGUE.”


THIS does not imply that Moses was a stammerer as many have thought and have been taught. Notice that a similar expression to these are found in Ezekiel 3:5;


Ezekiel 3:5 (NKJV)

5 For you are not sent to a people of UNFAMILIAR SPEECH and of HARD LANGUAGE, but to the house of Israel,


The double expression “slow of speech and of a slow tongue” show that Moses had difficulty in making utterances in Hebrew and the Egyptian language. This was because of a prolonged period of disuse after his exile in Midian (see Exodus 2:11-22). He became a foreigner in Midian and assimilated THEIR way of speaking (language), abandoning Hebrew and the Egyptian language for a lengthy period of time. You can say his Hebrew and Egyptian were “rusty.” That’s what he means by “I AM SLOW OF SPEECH and SLOW OF TONGUE.” (Exodus 4:10). This was the natural consequence as he was speaking neither the Hebrew nor Egyptian languages during his years as a shepherd.


Hence Aaron would act as his interpreter.

Exodus 4:14-17 (NKJV)

14 So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and He said: “Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that HE CAN SPEAK WELL. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. 15 Now you shall speak to him and put THE WORDS IN HIS MOUTH. And I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will teach you what you shall do. 16 So he shall be YOUR SPOKESMAN to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God. 17 And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs.”


Recall that Aaron had remained amongst the Hebrew and Egyptian people all those years and was savvy in their mode of communication. He was also a skillful orator (“…I know that HE CAN SPEAK WELL“, vs. 14), Moses wasn’t (“…I am NOT ELOQUENT, neither BEFORE nor since,” vs. 10).


Since Aaron was an orator and skilled in language, he would speak to the people for Moses. His task was to take Moses’ crude, unrefined Hebrew/Egyptian and put it into simpler sentences which God’s people and Pharaoh could understand. Hence the statement in vs. 16 (b):


…and you shall be to him as god.

The word “god” was used in the Jewish culture of persons who represent the Deity, as kings or judges (see Psalm 82:1, 6). Thus, it may be better understood as: “You shall be to him a master.


So Moses was not a stammerer, but he did need Aaron to act as his interpreter because he had lost touch of the Egyptian and Hebrew languages in his exile in Midian. This is what the phrases “SLOW OF SPEECH and SLOW OF TONGUE” imply. He merely needed Aaron to express his words and messages from Yahweh in a more understandable format to the children of Israel and Pharaoh.


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2021.



No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *